NREGA Mandirs and Fendi Block Prints

Economics, Organisations, Institutions, Movements, Technology

NREGA Mandirs and Fendi Block Prints

Sunny and Meeta

In a village somewhere between Bacchau and Bhuj, in Kacchh in Gujarat the village sarpanch cannot find people to register for the NREGA (National Rural Guarantee Act) program. He needs poor, unemployed citizens of India who want to avail of 100 days of manual labour and get paid Rs. 100/- a day. .You see Kacchh is an arid region with low rainfall but somehow everyone has some land. Since the canal from Narmada reached here the land prices have gone up ten fold. Not that much of the water from Narmada is reaching all farms, but huge numbers of industries have moved in, taking advantage of cheap land and water from the Narmada. We, that is Meeta and I, work in Kacchh with a hand-block printer who is a harijan/dalit. .Now how does a harijan/dalit land up doing block printing which is traditionally done in Dhamadka by only Muslim Khatris. .Our block printer's uncle started working as a boy with the Ajrakh printers and since he was smart, picked up the trade and skills which are hidden by every artisanal caste in India from every other caste. .So his uncle became a flourishing artisan and his whole extended family picked up the skills, while the uncle set up an NGO and a school to help educate poor children. Our block printer is a young man of 25, who has been to Dubai and Port of Spain on exhibitions. .A few years back he sold his motorcycle to buy some land when he realised land was a good i...
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